The Nationals have exercised left-hander Gio Gonzalez’s club option for 2017 and declined right-hander Yusmeiro Petit’s, the team announced. Gonzalez will earn $12MM next season, while Petit will hit the open market after receiving a $500K buyout from the Nats.
After logging ERAs ranging from 2.89 ERA to 3.79 in each season from 2010-15, Gonzalez allowed runs at a 4.57 clip per nine innings this year. Picking up Gonzalez’s option was a no-brainer in spite of that, though, especially given that the Nats could take advantage of a weak free agent market and use the 31-year-old as trade bait. Despite his bloated ERA, he still posted solid strikeout and walk rates of 8.68 and 2.99, and generated ground balls at a 47.6 percent clip. Gonzalez threw 177 1/3 innings, his highest total since 2013, and his $12MM club option for 2018 will vest if he manages to rack up 180 frames next season.
Like Gonzalez, Petit took a step back this year, but his was damaging enough for Washington to pass on him at an inexpensive cost for 2017. Petit’s 7.11 K/9 and 2.18 BB/9 aren’t far from his career averages, and he set a career high with a 41.5 percent grounder rate, but his 4.50 ERA across 62 innings is the worst figure he has put up since 2009. Left-handed hitters caused most of the damage this year, teeing off on Petit with a .269/.336/.588 line. He was far more effective against right-handers (.267/.295/.403) and will now try to catch on elsewhere as a bullpen option.